Uber Invents... The Taxi Rank
After a trial in Bangalore, Uber is now launching a new “innovation” at Portland Airport of a line where Uber customers stand and take the next available Uber car. Sound familiar? Yes, this is simply the taxi rank with digital payments and GPS tracking.
This one move calls out what many of these “unicorns” thrive on existing markets that fail to incrementally innovate. If the taxi and limousine industry had been open to iterating their model, to embedding technology and transparency to their services, to embracing the gig economy (that they had led the way in - Medallion sharing etc), there wouldn’t have been a window for “disrupters” to raise billions to deliver what is really just an iteration to the market.
Rideshare hasn’t transformed transportation. Arguably it’s made it more inefficient through greater congestion and pollution and undermining super-efficient public transportation. It exists off the decision of the legacy industry not to innovate itself. There are lessons here for all legacy industry leaders: your greatest defence from outsiders is to rapidly and incrementally disrupt yourself.